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The ILO Staff Union:
Why should I join?

Shape your working environment. In the ILO it is up to each individual to decide whether or not to join the Staff Union. Read on to see why we should all become members.

How can I join? Anyone who is employed by the ILO can become a member of the Union. It does not matter how long your contract is or what type of contract you have; the Union is open to all grades and categories. Staff who leave the ILO can remain members by joining the former officials’ section.

How much does it cost? The contribution is set at 4.5 per thousand of salary. There is no limit to what members may contribute in terms of time and ideas.

What are the benefits? What the Union can do for members depends to a large extent on the efforts of members themselves. As a member you will be in a position to play a part in shaping your working environment and improving your conditions of employment. One thing is certain: we can achieve more through our joint efforts as members of the Union than each of us would on our own.

What influence does the Staff Union have in the ILO? Given that it is clearly representative, the Staff Union can and does have a real influence on decisions on a wide range of issues affecting staff, in particular through its joint bodies such as the Administrative Committee, which deals with everything to do with the Staff Regulations, and the Selection Board, which makes recommendations to the Director-General on how vacancies should be filled, as well as on transfers and promotions. Priority discussions are now under way between the management of the Office and the Staff Union on the procedures and institutions through which collective bargaining between the two parties will take place in the future.

Is it really worth joining the Union? Our terms and conditions of employment have been deteriorating for a number of years now. We need a strong union if this trend is to be halted and reversed. It should also be borne in mind that the salaries of some ILO staff, in particular General Services officials in the field, provide a very low standard of living. But remuneration is not the only issue. In fact the Union devotes more than half of its time and energy to other matters unrelated - or only indirectly related - to pay and pensions, such as job security, occupational safety and health, staff movements, the mobility policy, special problems of staff in the field, job classification, recruitment, training, career policy and equal opportunity, as well as problems affecting officials individually. By being a member, you will be able to take up the issues that are most important to you.

What if I have problems with my boss? Some problems can be solved by consulting your Personnel Department Liaison Officer. If this does not work, contact your union steward or the Staff Union Committee. A member will advise you on how best to proceed: for example by informing you of your rights or obligations under the Staff Regulations; by interceding on your behalf; by accompanying you when you discuss a contentions matter with your chief; or by helping you formulate a complaint (under article 13.2 of the Staff Regulations). The Union can also help members who decide to appeal to the Administrative Tribunal.

How can I find out more about the Union? Why not dip into the Staff Union Committee’s report to the last Annual General Meeting? You can find it on the Union’s Web site or obtain it from the Secretariat, office 6-20, ext. 7956/57. Information about current activities can be found in the Staff Union bulletins, on the Web site, in the monthly magazine UNION or, if you work at headquarters, on the notice board on R2 (north and south). Better still, ask your colleagues who are or have been union stewards or members of the Staff Union Committee - they will be happy to answer your questions. If you work in the field, don’t hesitate to contact the local Union representative or write to the Chairperson.

How can I take part in Union activities? Take part in our meetings, for a start. Or you can stand for election as a union steward or as a member of the Committee - your contribution might turn out to be more valuable and effective than you think. And remember that you can always let off steam by writing to UNION (it is up to you to decide whether or not you want your name to be printed).

If you work in the field, find out whether there is a branch of the Staff Union at your duty station. Whether you are employed in an ILO office or on an ILO project, you enjoy essentially the same benefits from Union membership as headquarters staff. The one big difference is that you are far from the centre of decision-making in the Office - one of the reasons why the Union has made special arrangements for the representation of field staff.

We hope this has shown you that the Staff Union has a useful role to play. Remember that improvements gained through the Union are of benefit to all staff. To become a member, please complete the form attached and send it to the Staff Union Secretariat (office 6-20). If you are still not convinced, please ring the Chairperson (ext. 7958) or the Secretariat (ext.7956/57).

Click here for membership affiliation form.


Updated by FQ.Approved by MS. Last update: 27 October 2007